Football fans in Enugu say they are proud of the home-based Super Eagles’ performance at the ongoing 2018 African Nation Championship (CHAN) in Morocco.
The Eagles on Wednesday night booked their place at the final of the tournament after beating Sudan 1-0 to face hosts Morocco in the final.
The 2018 African Nations Championship, known as the Total African Nations Championship (also referred to as CHAN 2018) will be the 5th edition of the biennial football competition.
It is organised by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and exclusively featuring players from the respective national championships.
Nigeria ranked 51 in the world in the FIFA/Coca Cola is making its third appearance after finishing in the third place in 2014.
Some of the enthusiasts who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Enugu on Thursday said the players had surpassed their predecessors’ achievement of third place finish.
A former Nigerian World Boxer, Ikechukwu Okoronkwo, said that the current players had surpassed everybody’s expectation.
“At the very beginning, I never thought that they will reach this level when they draw their first match against Rwanda.
“When I watched their first and second matches and saw how the players missed goal scoring chances, I did not expect them to go beyond the quarter-finals.
“I am happy that those lost scoring chances did not come back to hurt them and as a true Nigerian, the trophy will be a better compensation for the country,’’ he said.
Rangers Media Officer Norbert Okolie said that the players had proved that they were there for business.
“We have not touched this trophy since its inception and for Nigeria to reach the final in Morocco, it is a huge success,’’ he said.
He called on the players to give it one more push as they have 90 minutes separating them and the trophy.
Contributing, Enugu State Boxing Coach Blaise Ude prayed that the team would be successful in the final.
“It surprised me to see the players survive the remaining minutes of the game against Sudan after been reduced to 10 men with Ifeanyi ifeanyi sent off in the 59th minute.
“In fact, everything worked in our favour on Wednesday night against Sudan as Dele Ajiboye the second goalkeeper came in for the injured Ikechukwu Ezenwa and made several saves,’’ he said.
Austin Ezenwata, who runs a football show in Abakpa Nike, Enugu, said that Nigeria deserved to be in final and hoped that they lifted the trophy.
“All the players were not exposed to international football and besides, they have no room in the squad used by the Nigerian coach to prosecute the 2018 World Cup qualifier,’’ Ezenwa said.
He advised the players to go for the trophy against Morocco and to ensure they scored an early goal in the match to ease pressure of the home crowd. (NAN)